Visualize Milwaukee

My goal is to help Visualize Milwaukee. In particular, I want to keep a pulse on some of the commercial and residential real estate in the area. I have a slant towards revitalizing underutilized properties and areas within the city of Milwaukee. Welcome to Visualize Milwaukee! Let me know what you think, or if there are any areas you want me to cover.

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Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

I am software engineer by trade and enjoy real estate development as way to improve our community and always see something new each day.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Center Street & Appleton Avenue

The area around Center Street where Appleton Avenue crosses diagonally (around 58th Street) is the topic for today. Center Street's commercial and residential quality of life varies greatly along Center Street as you head west out of downtown Milwaukee. It goes from desolate and open to strong business corridor, to bars on the windows and boarded up buildings, back to strong businesses, then into the unsure from about 50th to 60th streets. Just west of there Center Street turns more residential as it heads into Wauwatosa. This corner is almost an unwalled border between Milwaukee and Wauwatosa.

Check out some demographic info at: http://www.mkedcd.org/business/pdfs/busmmAppleton.pdf. The intersection keeps busy all day, with 30,000 vehicles daily, as Appleton Ave. cuts through just a few miles after Highway 41 ended on Lisbon Avenue. There is BP(?) gas station here on the South East corner that is always swamped with traffic.

Used car dealers abound both at the intersection and along Center Street. There are lots of fully leased commercial storefronts along Appleton Ave to the north. On the North East corner is a nicely appointed attorney's office. Right next door to that is a building with 2 storefronts that have been vacant for at least the past year. Every few months some new signs are put up for a smoke shop or a clothing store, but I have yet to see any business being transacted! This particular building seems to have no problem keeps its upstairs apartments rented up.

Why is it so hard to attract commercial tenants here? There is constant foot traffic, tons of car traffic, and successful commercial spaces just a few blocks in any direction. Is it the location, the advertising, poor businesses, or the owner of the building? I don't have an answer for that. But I can see how it is difficult to find the right commercial tenant. The gas station across the street becomes almost a hangout on weekend nights. The attorney next door doesn't draw much foot traffic. The local residents have other commercial options available along Appleton Ave. So, maybe this building is just stuck, never to be fully utilized! Or maybe, it just needs the right owner with the right businesses to draw a small crowd from the local used car dealers.

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